While Time magazine`s cover story this week gurgled cheerfully over the happy "whole new world" it spies in the disappearance of the U.S. border with Mexico, a more sober article in the June issue of American Demographics analyzes the new borders that are sprouting up—inside what used to be the United States.
The second article, by veteran demographer William Frey, looks at the findings of the recent census and discovers that while some parts of the country really are "melting"—that is, becoming more ethnically "diverse" due to massive non-white immigration and higher non-white birth rates—other parts aren`t. While Dr. Frey, one of the country`s leading population and immigration experts, doesn`t quite say it, what his findings mean is that the United States, so far from remaining united, is facing serious regional, racial and cultural polarization.
"America`s racial and ethnic patterns have taken on distinctly regional dimensions," Dr. Frey writes. While "Hispanics dominate large portions of counties in a span of states stretching from California to Texas" and "Blacks are strongly represented in counties of the South as well as selected urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest," "the minority presence" in much of the interior of the country "is still quite limited."
"The most notable aspect of this map [showing the new national ethnic distribution] is the broad stretch of counties from the upper West and Rocky Mountains to the Midwest and Northeast that are mostly white, and where none of the minority groups come close to approximating their national averages." Looking at Dr. Frey`s map, you can see that what constitutes the central geographical core of the United States in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa—with outliers in Minnesota, Idaho, and Texas—remains overwhelmingly white.
The "overall gains" of Hispanics in the past decade "are heavily concentrated in the core counties of immigrant metro areas, and in the West and Southwestern U.S. Just 100 of these core counties accounted for more than 70 percent of all the nation`s Hispanic gains during the decade."
Though Dr. Frey doesn`t mention it in this article, one reason for the persistence of the white center is that whites are and have been leaving the peripheral parts of the country to which non-white immigrants are flocking. Writing in The New York Times Magazine in 1995, Dr. Frey and co-author Jonathan Tilove noted, "For every immigrant who arrives [in large metropolitan areas], a white person leaves. Look collectively at the New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Boston metropolitan areas--5 of the top immigration destinations. In the last half of the 80`s, for every 10 immigrants who arrived, 9 residents left for points elsewhere. And most of those leaving were non-Hispanic whites." (1)
As they also pointed out, what is known as "white flight" originally occurred when whites left urban neighborhoods for the suburbs. Now it occurs when whites leave entire states. The Third World migration flood isn`t the only important population movement of our time; another is the First World flight away from the Third World flood.
The myth of the "melting pot" holds that as aliens enter American society, they "melt" or assimilate into a larger, homogeneous, national porridge. Maybe that happened in the country`s past, but Dr. Frey`s article shows it`s not happening now.
What`s happening now is that the historic white population of the United States is voting with its feet and surrendering the periphery of the nation to non-white immigrants and native blacks. Not only does that contradict the treasured melting pot mythology but also it points to major conflicts in the future between the unmelted ethnic and racial lumps.
The racial breakdown of voting behavior became obvious enough this last election, with the Democrats sweeping blacks and Hispanics into their pockets and the Republicans winning a smaller majority of whites. Once the whites and non-whites have divvied up the nation between them, as Dr. Frey`s map shows is happening, the political polarization of the two regions—the coastal and border areas vs. the interior—will follow. So will the cultural polarization, as the values, manners, tastes and beliefs of the different regions also pull apart. The polarization also has major economic implications, as corporate marketeers try to surf their products and services through different cultural waves.
The polarization by race, culture, politics, and region may or may not lead to the much-ballyhooed second civil war or the actual Balkanization of the nation into separate political and territorial units, but it will certainly mean that America will be less of a nation, enjoy less of a common way of life and become less than it once was and could have been had not our short-sighted and selfish ruling class insisted on permitting mass immigration.
COPYRIGHT 2001 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
(1) Frey, William H. and Jonathan Tilove, "Immigrants In, Native Whites Out," The New York Times Magazine, August 20, 1995
June 07, 2001